It’s the New Year, which means it’s time for a “new” you, right? #NewYearNewMe
How many years have you told that to yourself? How many posts, blogs, or articles have you read the last couple weeks bemoaning the start of a new year for all the inevitable “detox”, “diffuse”, or “different me” it will bring?
Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with auditing yourself.
Self awareness is a seemingly rare commodity in today’s world. But instead of throwing away all the old you of last year, embrace everything you did wrong.
I promise it will make your resolutions feel less like a disappointed parent shaking their head at you from the shadows and more like an encouraging reminder of the human condition.
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. One day we might commit to totally turning our lives around. You know, dropping that one habit that seems to absorb all your limited free time. Replacing it with something more instagram worthy. Maybe it’s shedding those few elusive pounds, or its hitting the gym even harder. They all seem so noble and inspiring when sipping cocktails and eggnog over the holidays.
But then the “real world” sets in after you are back in your daily grind. Something slips, maybe more than once and (depending on your personality type) you begin the slippery slope of dealing with personally-inflicted mental dissonance. And nothing can be more mentally draining than feeling like you are hiding from a “better” version of yourself that wants to remind you of all your failings.
I want to take my 2017 resolutions and make them less of a cocoon from which I have to emerge at some point beautiful and transformed, and instead, more of a journey.
For me personally, I’ve recently found a strange irony to what I’ve made my goal for 2017 and what I’ve seen toward the end of 2016: perception is everything.
If you want to be angry, you will find and notice anything that makes you angry. One of the earliest promises of social media was that it “would enable the free flow of different points of view and promote the enrichment of perspectives and ideas.” (I totally made up that quote, so don’t quote me).
But instead, it feels as though it’s created insular bubbles of reinforcing echo-chamber thought. Someone says something I don’t like or agree with? Hide that person. Delete that friend. It’s a major problem because often, without you even knowing, you are creating your own destructive prison.
When you are frustrated or upset with something or someone, you might start to inexplicably surround yourself with things that will always upset you, even when you are trying not to be.
For me, it was a big problem in 2016. When I was upset, I wanted the entire world and the people in my life to be upset with me. In reflecting and trying to audit myself at the end of the year, I noticed that so many of my own social media channels reinforced “shocking” me. No wonder I found myself angry. I wanted to be.
And I’m seeing, from the outside now, many of those other bubbles emerging in the new year. “Why are people jumping into these detox fads? They’ll never last.” “New gym memberships? Ha, you know that’s how they make their money!”
What’s wrong with hope? Be eternally optimistic about your ability to make yourself better. Try to stop defeating yourself before you even allow yourself to try. If we didn’t experience disappointment and pain, how would we know what happiness and success felt like? Failure is always the best teacher and provides the most fertile ground for personal mental growth.
You just can’t accept that you will always be unhappy. Because if you do, everything bad that you see around you will seem like signs that you are right to be unhappy. You are justified to sit in a mental rut. “Look,” you’ll say to yourself, “how can I be happy when x, y, or z is happening?”
Don’t give into the narrative that resolutions are pointless because they result in failure. “No one ever completes their resolutions,” some may tell you. That’s okay, because for many of us, that may be the point. Allow yourself to try. Pick things you want to improve on, or even try for the first time, not because they seem impossible, but because they are all journeys toward not only improving yourself, but learning more about who you are.
Like I hoped in 2016, 2017 will be my best year yet.
And I hope it will for you too.